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Teacher of the Year

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Stanislaus County

2023 Teacher of the Year Overview


The Teachers of the Year program is designed to pay special tribute to outstanding TK-12 teachers in Stanislaus County, to recognize that teachers face many challenges every day in their classrooms and in the community, and to promote public recognition and respect for the teaching profession.  This program celebrates the exceptional work of positive role models who:

  • Inspire all students to reach their highest academic potential and work to maximize their social and emotional development;
  • Consistently support high expectations for learning and responsible behavior at school and within the community;
  • Approach teaching with creativity, enthusiasm, and a true appreciation for the individual differences among all students; and,
  • Cultivate a life-long interest in learning among all students.

The program is implemented with the involvement of local public and private schools within Stanislaus County and is administered by the Modesto Rotary Club and the Stanislaus County Office of Education.

Nomination Process

Principals are encouraged to nominate one teacher at their school who fits the eligibility criteria below to be considered for the County Teacher of the Year Awards. Each school may only have one nominee per year. Teachers who were previously nominated but not selected as the Teacher of the Year may be nominated again. Nominees must:

  • Be teachers of grades TK-12 in public or private schools located within Stanislaus County;
  • Be the teacher of record for designated students and not fully released from the classroom;
  • Be fully credentialed through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing;
  • Have taught a minimum of 8 years (perhaps across districts), inclusive of the year of nomination;
  • If chosen County Teacher of the Year, be willing to serve on the screening team and attend the luncheon for the following year. Substitutes will be paid at the district’s expense. Luncheon ticket will be paid for by SCOE Administration; and,
  • Be willing to participate at the state and national levels of competition, if selected.

Requirements for Application

The application and narratives must be completed online at The teacher or principal will start the process by clicking New Teacher Application button and completing the application page. The teacher and principal will be able to edit the application page but only view the other’s narrative. The teacher’s submission will not exceed 1000 words, and the principal’s submission will not exceed 500 words. The superintendent and/or designee(s) will also receive an email notifying him/her that a district teacher has begun the process. The superintendent and/or designee(s) will be able to view the submissions. All documents need to be completed and approved by the superintendent or designee on January 20, 2023 by 5:00 p.m. Please note: no paper, faxed or emailed versions will be accepted.
  • The principal and teacher must approve videotaping in the teacher’s classroom.
  • In addition to allowing time for videotaping in the school and classroom, the principal must be prepared to provide release time for the honoree to attend the Modesto Rotary luncheon on May 2, 2023.

Selection Process

A selection committee (composed of Educators, Rotarians, and previous Teacher of the Year winners) reviews applications, visits classrooms, and ultimately selects three finalists for each grade level group:  TK-3, 4-6, junior high, and high school.  The committee does not have a single type of teacher in mind; selected teachers may have very different teaching styles and methods. But committee members will search for those teachers who best engage their students and whose students are learning from the lesson observed.

The Five-Step Selection Process

              STEP 1:  Electronic applications are due January 20, 2023 by 5:00 p.m.  The Selection Committee will review all applications and select six teachers to visit in each of the four categories:  TK-3, 4-6, 7-8 and 9-12. (The principal’s narrative will count for 1/3 of the total score, and the teacher’s narrative will count for 2/3 of the total score.)

STEP 2:  Twenty-four teachers will be observed during the weeks of February 27 – March 10. Committee members will make the site visits, review the applications again and select three finalists from each category. From those three, one teacher in each category will receive the County Teacher

Year Award but this will not be announced until the luncheon.

STEP 3:  The twelve selected teachers will also be videotaped in their classrooms the weeks of March 20-31, 2023. A special video will be created, presented during the Modesto Rotary Club luncheon on May 2, 2023.

STEP 4:  During the May 2nd luncheon, eight teachers will receive a Teacher of the Year Finalist Award, and the four winners will receive their County Teacher of the Year award and a $1,000 check.  Each Teacher of the Year finalist and a guest, the principal, and superintendent will receive complimentary tickets to the luncheon from the Modesto Rotary Club. Additional tickets may be purchased, based on availability. Payments for extra tickets must be paid by the deadline of April 17, 2023.

STEP 5: In June, the four winners will be interviewed and two teachers will be selected to represent Stanislaus County in the California Teacher of the Year program as per state guidelines. These teachers will complete the state application by July 2023.  Announcement of representatives in the state  competition is made each year in September.

The Jane Johnston Civility Award

All twelve finalists will have the opportunity to be considered for the Jane Johnston Civility Award presented by the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County. Information will be sent to the nominators once the finalists have been announced. The honoree will be announced at the luncheon and will receive an award and a $1000 check.


The four honorees in each category (TK-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12) will each receive an award and a $1,000 check.  Additionally, the Jane Johnston Civility awardee will also receive an award and a $1000 check.

Luncheon Reservations

All wishing to attend (including finalists, principals, and superintendents) the 2023 County Teacher of the Year Luncheon must RSVP by April 17, 2023 to Reneé Mohrbacher at (209) 238-1364 or rmohrbacher [ahtsym] stancoe [dhotsym] org.  Extra tickets are limited and are distributed on a first come first serve basis. Payments for extra tickets must be received by the April 17, 2023 deadline.

Congratulations to the 2022 Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year

  • High School Category - Eli Bynum, Thomas Downey, Modesto City Schools
  • 7-8th Grade Category - Charlyn Selee, Dutcher Middle, Turlock Unified School District
  • 4-6th Grade Category - Danelle Garcia, Mary Lou Dieterich Elementary, Stanislaus Union School District
  • TK-3rd Grade Category - Chelsea Bustos, Sinclear Elementary, Ceres Unified School District

Click on the videos below to learn more about the teachers.

Video clips of the 2022 Teacher of the Year Finalists
High School Category 7-8th grade Category


2022 Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year Announced

The Modesto Rotary Club and the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) announced the selection of four local educators as 2022 Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year on May 3 at the DoubleTree Hotel. In addition, a Jane Johnston Civility Award was presented to one of the 12 finalists for exemplifying the principles of civility. "SCOE received 57 nominations from public and private school principals from throughout the county," said Jason Maggard, SCOE Chief of Staff. "A selection committee, composed of local Rotarians and educators, narrowed the nominations through a paper screening process and then visited the classrooms of 24 semi-finalists before narrowing it down to the 12 finalists. We are thrilled that we were finally able to recognize our Teacher of the Year Finalists."

The 2020-21 Teachers of the Year are Chelsea Bustos from Sinclear Elementary School, Ceres Unified School District – TK-3 division; Danelle Garcia from Dieterich Elementary School, Stanislaus Union Elementary School District – 4-6 division; Charlyn Selee from Dutcher Middle, Turlock Unified School District – junior high division; and Eli Bynum from Downey High School, Modesto City School – high school division.
The four selected as Teachers of the Year each received a $1,000 cash award from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation. Mocse Credit Union also sponsored the event and provided funding for the awards, decorations and lunch for the student entertainers.

T The 2022 Teachers of the Year Finalists included:

Elementary (TK-3) Level      SCHOOL                                            DISTRICT
Chelsea Bustos                    Sinclear Elementary                        Ceres Unified
Kelsey Larrabee                    Magnolia Elementary                         Oakdale Jt. Unified
Kelli Redman                        Chatom Elementary                            Chatom Union

Elementary (4-6) Level         SCHOOL                                         DISTRICT
Danelle Garcia                      Dieterich Elementary                    Stanislaus Union
Amy Harper                            Freedom Elementary                      Sylvan Union
Janette Schmidt                     Fox Road Elementary                     Hughson Unified


Junior High Level                 SCHOOL                                        DISTRICT
Amanda Bailey                       Blaker-Kinser Jr. High                    Ceres Unified
Kelli Conner                            Beaver Elementary                        Ceres Unified
Charlyn Selee                        Dutcher Middle School               Turlock Unified

High School Level                SCHOOL                                       DISTRICT
Eli Bynum                              Thomas Downey High                 Modesto City
Megan Hulst                            Central Valley High                        Ceres Unified
Yohan Partan                           Pitman High                                   Turlock Unified




Contact Us

Renee Mohrbacher

1100 H Street
Modesto, CA 95354

Key Contacts

Picture of Jason Maggard

Jason Maggard

Chief of Staff, Administrative Services

Renee Mohrbacher

Prevention Programs Manager
Picture of Judy Boring

Judy Boring

Public Information Officer, Administrative Services
Picture of Cynthia Fenech

Cynthia Fenech

Communications Director, Administrative Services